Three Year Federal Pay Freeze? Who Knew?

Tuesday - 3/1/2011, 4:00am EST

It is probably safe to say that no matter who is president, the vast majority of Americans don't listen all that closely to his weekly (Saturday) radio address to the nation. Or to the follow-up statement by a spokesman for the opposition political party. It is usually broadcast around noon Saturday when people are typically doing other things.

And maybe the fact that most people don't listen closely is a good thing: Especially if they are federal government workers who might have the radio on as they drive around the traffic-choked Washington area where every third driver is a frustrated NASCAR driver.

Because if you were listening closely Saturday, what you would have heard the president say is that he has frozen federal salaries for three years!!! By now most people know there is a two-year pay freeze in effect, but three years? Who knew?

Turns out it was all a mistake. A simple slip of the tongue which we all do.

What happened is this:

In his weekly address the president spoke about his recent trip around the country, and about his 5-year plan to freeze most federal spending. This is what he said in his address:

"Now, putting this budget freeze in place will require tough choices. That's why I've frozen salaries for hardworking civil servants for three years, and proposed cutting programs I care about deeply, like community action programs in low-income neighborhoods. I'm not taking these steps lightly - but I'm taking them because our economic future demands it."

You can listen to it by clicking here

President Obama's bipartisan deficit reduction committee did recommend a three year pay freeze. But the president, who has had nothing but praise for the federal workforce, limited that freeze to two years. Except when he misspoke on Saturday.

Most people probably didn't listen, and many of them who did listen probably didn't catch the mistake. But a few did and they contacted us. We in turn called the White House. They said to listen to the tape and, if it said the pay freeze was for three years, to send them an e-mail and they would check up on it.

Given the world situation it not a big deal.

On the other hand...

For jittery federal workers, who have been slammed by Congress and who face a potential lock-out this Friday, followed by a potential furlough and series of benefit cuts, it doesn't take much to make nervous folk even more nervous.

So for the record, the pay freeze is for two years. Not three.

Unless, of course, Congress acts on a plan to make it a five-year freeze.

No wonder feds are confused.

Contractors & Govt Shutdown

So what happens to federal contractors if the agency they service is shut down? According to Washington Technology survey results, so far 23 percent of the companies surveyed said they expected employees would be laid off; 56 percent said they would keep working. Others plan to move staff to other projects or send them for additional training. To check it out and participate, click here.

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

According to DiscoveryNews, "Cats hold some control over when they are fed and handled, functioning very similar to human children in some households." If you're owned by a cat and this is news to you, please raise your paw.


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